Open-source maps?

Half the time when I’m writing/editing a Wikipedia entry about a place, I’d like to include a map showing where the heck it is. But I’m afear’d of copyright info on Google Maps, Mapquest, etc.

Which leads to my question: are there any kind of public-domain maps out there? I’m interested in a practical application for this situation, sure, but also generally interested…

Well, there’s Wikimapia. Not really what you seem to be looking for.

You might be interested in the maps from the CIA World Factbook

They are public domain, and there is a special image tag to indicate this in wikipedia:

See the Wikipedia page on Copyright tags, for information on the various classifications of images, including public domain ones, fair use, etc. It seems that American Federal Government and military images are usually in the public domain, including the CIA.

The National Map from the USGS are public domain as well. You can zoom to your location and go nuts.

I don’t know about embedding a map in the article itself, but there’s something else you can do. There are some Wikipedia templates that automatically generate several links to road maps and overhead photographs of a place. You just have to put in the latitude and longitude, which you can find yourself with Google Maps. (Just center it and then copy the “link to this page” link which includes the coordinates.).

For instance, USS North Carolina (BB-55) has the template:


which links to photos & maps of the Battleship Memorial. The 34 is north and the -77 is east. There’s also a “cityscale” template which is zoomed out further. Both add the latitude & longitude to the top of the article. Here are the rest. That template used to include a Wikimapia link; the thing about Wikimapia is it lets you mark places on the map and makes notes about them. I liked it and I may replace it in the template sometime.

Wikimapia apparently uses Google Maps so I’d see if Google can be used by others in general. Another site that might be relevant is Placeopedia which lets you add a “pin” to the map which links to the relevant Wikipedia article about the location.